Lehigh Valley

Pa.'s new voter ID law lands in court; met with protests

Pa.'s new voter ID law lands in court; met with protests

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The voter ID law has sparked a lot of heated debate among Pennsylvanians.

Protesters took to Hamilton Street in Allentown on Wednesday in hopes of drawing attention to the issue.

The protesters are hoping to get people to contact their legislative leaders about the voter ID law, saying it will prevent an estimated 9% of Pennsylvania voters from being able to vote.

"Hey, hey, ho, ho, voter ID has got to go," chanted the protesters.

"They are protesting a law that has no other purpose than to suppress votes," said Jeff Greenwald.

The protesters said Pennsylvania's voter ID law, which requires a photo ID to vote, will block many people from casting a ballot.

"I think it's over reaching. I just think it's a ploy to disenfranchise working people and people of color of their vote," said Joe Stern.

The law was passed in March and is now the focus of a court battle in Harrisburg on constitutionality issues.

State Republican lawmakers said the photo requirement is necessary to prevent voter fraud, but protesters claimed Pennsylvania has no history of widespread fraud and that some people don't have a photo ID or the necessary documents to go get one.

"A lot of your senior citizens don't drive. so they have a hard time getting to the place, the Pennsylvania driver's license place, to get their voter ID," said Jody Weinreich, with the Alliance for Retired Americans.

The law allows several forms of ID to vote, including a driver's license, passport or a military ID. Photo identification from a municipality, a health care facility, or a college will also be accepted.

The state said a special voter ID will be given to those who cannot afford to purchase one if they are able to provide a Social Security card and other documents.

A ruling from the court on the law is expected the week of August 13.

The Justice Department is also looking into whether the law complies with federal election laws.


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